How to Make a Graceful Exit From Your Nursing Job » Nursing Jobs Blog – Nurses Insights at Nursing Jobs.org

How to Make a Graceful Exit From Your Nursing Job

April 2nd, 2009  |  The Blog

I’m sure that what I’m about to say will shock a lot of young people in the nursing profession. Nurses use to hold the same job for a lifetime. I’ve known many nurses who have worked their entire career where they attended nursing school. Now unit secretaries have to update their unit staffing roster every month because of the turnover. According to a recent report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “baby boomers” held on average 10.2 jobs between the ages of 18 and 38, so that means that it’s time to prepare for your next exit interview. There’s a right way and a wrong way to say your goodbyes to your former employer. Here are some tips on how to make a graceful exit from your nursing job.

The Truth About Exit Interviews

Exit interviews seem harmless enough, but nothing can be further from the truth.
Responsible employers might use the information to improve their nurse recruitment and retention activities, but disreputable employers solely use exit interviews to gather information that they can use against former employees in case of future litigation. Be careful how you answer open-ended questions, and be especially careful if you are leaving because you can’t stand your old boss. Ranting during your exit interview can come back to haunt you. The notes from your exit interview are kept in your employee file, and your former employer will think twice about rehiring you at a later date if you burn your bridges as you are walking out the door. Remember that nothing you say is confidential. What you say during your exit interview can also be used against you in a court of law if you ever decide to sue your former employer.

How to Answer Exit Interview Questions

There is no rule that states that you must participate in an exit interview, however it could hurt you later on when you ask for a reference. Also be aware that you are not required to answer any questions during an exit interview. Keep your answers short, or just say, “No comment,” if you don’t want to answer a question. At the end of the meeting the HR rep may ask you to sign the notes that he or she has taken during your interview. Don’t sign anything! You will be signing away your rights if you end up in court.

Here are some commonly asked questions:

What is your primary reason for leaving you nursing job?
What was most satisfying about your job?
What would you change about your job?
Were you happy with your pay, benefits, and other incentives?
Would you consider working again for this company in the future?

The best way to say goodbye to your nursing job is to walk out the door calmly. Don’t make a noise at your exit interview. Shake hands, collect your last check, and look forward to the rewards and challenges of your next nursing job.

If you have any advice about exit interviews, come to Nursing Voices and tell us about it. We’d love to know what you think, and we’re waiting to hear from you!

Terri Polick
About Terri Polick
Terri Polick has been a nurse for thirty years, and is a published author living in Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C. She is currently working as a freelance writer, and is a frequent contributor to Nursing Spectrum Magazine. Terri works at a local community hospital as a psychiatric nurse.

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